In recapping the Oscar nominations, Sheila Benson refers to Paul Newman and Dexter Gordon as "sentimental choices" ("Surprising Oscar Nominees: Declaration of Independents," Feb. 15). The not-so-subtle inference is that if Newman wins, it'll be only because he's lost out six times previously, and if it's Gordon, it'll be only because of his color.
If Benson is rooting for Bob Hoskins, more power to her--that's her prerogative. But as critics across the country have agreed, Newman in "Color of Money" is at the top of his form, no matter what the shortcomings of the film itself. Quoting Benson's mini-review (Movie Continuing Lists, Page 30): "This brings all of Newman's excellence back home in the six-pack of great Newman performances."
I have yet to read an anything-but-highly-laudatory review of Gordon's performance in "Round Midnight" from anyone. For example, Benson described it as a work of "magnificent, corroded nobility" (Page 33).
Names of the players may change, but this time each year Calendar readers very faithfully write in to ask if Benson ever reads her own column or remembers what she's written. This year, let one of those puzzled people be me.
DAVID R. MOSS